Murray uses state as example in promoting law against discrimination

WASHINGTON D.C. - Sen. Patty Murray gave a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday (Wednesday) about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which outlaws workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Murray spoke in support of the bill, basing her comments on a law passed in Washington state seven years ago. The current law is poised to pass the U.S. Senate, but then must also pass in the House.

Murray was an original co-sponsor of the act when it was first introduced in 1994, and has continued to work for its passage ever since.

The Washington state legislature enacted a bill in 2006 called the Washington Law Against Discrimination. This law added protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to the state civil rights law. Murray spoke yesterday about how this law supports a thriving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Washington, and how passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will benefit the country.

“In 2006, Washington state passed one of our country’s strongest anti-discrimination laws – one that serves as a model for the federal legislation we’re considering today,” Murray said. “In 2007 and 2008, we passed additional legislation to further protect the rights of same-sex couples. And one year ago today, our state voted proudly to uphold landmark marriage equality legislation…

“I rise today to simply ask my colleagues who don’t yet support this legislation to take a look at my home state of Washington, because in places like Seattle and Spokane, we’re proving every day that protecting the rights of our LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) friends and neighbors isn’t just the right thing to do - it works - and it makes our country stronger.”

Murray suggested those against the act visit Washington businesses to see the state’s growing economy.

“Denying Americans their rights just doesn’t make sense,” Murray said. “We know that a person’s race, religion and gender has nothing to do with their ability in the workplace, and we know that sexual orientation and gender identity don’t, either…. I’m proud that my state does protect those rights, but we cannot stop working until the same is true in all 50 states.”


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